Study Sheet for I Corinthians 10:14-11:1 (click here for Study Notes)

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
"Everything is permissible"-but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"-but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."
If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, "this has been offered to sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake-the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (NIV)


Day 1
Paul has just completed an historical review of the temptations and sins Israel faced, and he has told the Corinthians that the stories of Israel "were written down as warnings for us" Now he specifically warns the Corinthians to "flee from idolatry."

1. What is the "cup of thanksgiving" and the bread to which Paul refers in verse 16, and from where did these symbols come? (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23; I Cor. 11:24-26)


2. Why was it significant that the bread the Corinthians ate was from "one loaf"? (Romans 12:5; John 6:33-58)


3. Why do you think the Passover symbols of bread and wine became the continuing symbols of Christ instead of meat, which had also pointed toward Christ's death, becoming the continuing symbol? (Ex. 16:3,4; Matthew 6:11; 26:26; John 6:33, 35, 41, 48, 51; 21:13; Hebrews 9:12, 19-26)


Day 2
Paul now directly admonishes the Corinthians not to participate in eating sacrificial meat during pagan rituals.

1. What does he mean when he asks, "Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?"(Leviticus 7:5,6; 14,15; Deuteronomy 12:17,18)


2. If an idol is nothing, as Paul reiterates in verses 19-20, why does he say that the Corinthians should not participate with their friends in eating in pagan temple rituals? (Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32:17; Psalm 106:34-39; Rev. 9:20; II Cor. 6:15,16; I Cor. 3:16)


3. Paul asks, "Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?" If Christians believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, why would their participation in a pagan ritual arouse God's jealousy? (Dt. 32:16, 20-21; Ps. 78:58; Jer. 44:8; Ecc. 6:10; Isa. 45:9; Eph. 6:11-17)


Day 3
Paul revisits his previous point: " 'Everything is permissible'-but not everything is beneficial."

1. Why does Paul bring up this point again? (I Cor. 8:1; Gal. 6:2; Romans 15:1,2; I Cor. 13:5; Philippians 2:4, 21)


2. This discussion of the believer's freedom to choose whether or not to eat sacrificial meat immediately follows Paul's recitation of Israel's many falls into sin and paganism. Compare this freedom believers have with the Israelites' requirement to "touch no unclean thing" (Isaiah 52:11) How is it the same? Different?


Day 4
'"Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience," Paul says in v. 25. In fact, eat whatever an unbeliever puts before you without question. But if anyone tells you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then don't eat it.

1. If the meat in the meat market had previously been offered to idols, as it often was, why would Paul say, immediately after telling the Corinthians to abstain from eating ritual offerings, that they should feel free to eat it? (Acts 10:15; I Cor. 8:4-8)


2. What confusion is Paul trying to avoid by having Christ-followers take their cue from those they're with regarding what to eat and what not to eat ? (I Cor. 8:9-13; 9:19; Romans 14:6)


Day 5
Paul summarizes this section by reminding the Corinthians that whatever they do, they should do it to the glory of God. They should cause no one-believer or unbeliever-to stumble.

1. What is the underlying main point of this whole last half of chapter 10? (Zech. 14:21; Col. 3:17; P Peter 4:10,11; Romans 15:3; I Cor. 9:22)


2. Paul ends by telling the Corinthians to "follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." What is significant about the order of this directive?


Day 6

1. What freedom do you exercise that may not glorify God in certain circumstances?


2. Who in your life has a weak conscience that may be vulnerable to confusion because of your freedom?


Day 7
We are not in danger (probably) of participating in literal idolatry. Idolatry, however, can be other than the worship of idols.

1. What practice or habit do you have that is the equivalent of "participat[ing] in the altar" of paganism?


2. What spiritual compromise do you need to surrender to Jesus, asking Him to take your compulsion and replace it with his peace and freedom?

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